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  1. #1
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    Please advise me on what bike to buy

    Hello,

    Last time I bought my first bike I did not make a thread here first. I did not go to my LBS which is Owen cyclery in Hixson, TN at Home - owencyclery.com.

    I give you that link so that you can know more information, and help me.

    These guys are nice guys. I like them. Still. My computer is custom because the stock parts for most that you buy are not very good.

    Last time as a 5 foot 10, 31.5 inch inseam guy I bought:

    2000 Cannondale F1000 SL 20.5 inch
    Shimano, shimano xtr
    Shimano xt rear
    Mavic 717 disc wheels
    Kenda tires
    Easton carbon flat bar
    Easton carbon seat post
    Race face crank

    Frozen head shox ultra fatty (frozen now)

    I liked the color. It looked like some of the parts on it were okay. It was local.

    I did not even buy my size.

    This time I want to do it differently. I ride tame mostly flat grassy trails and there is a paved and gravel trail with lots of uphill.

    I am thinking of buying a bike soon. I have $900 plus whatever can be salvaged off of the above bike that would be worth it.

    I like rigid front forks fine. I am not riding any real trails per say. I have never tried a 29er. I like that my current bike feels light weight.

    Do I:

    1. Go down to Owen and ask what my bike is worth to them? My wife is against me selling it on eBay, pinkbike, or craigslist. I am unsure if the front fork is bad. It is frozen in the down position which suits me just fine. My bike is huge though and I do not like that.

    2. Not sell my current bike and just try to snag a new frame and ask Owen to build it for me using some parts off of my current bike.

    3. Buy a used bike from eBay, pinkbike, or craigslist.

    4. Buy a cannondale trail series bike for 500-700 which features a sun tour fork. Which I would rather not be on the bike. A light weight rigid fork is what I think I would prefer.

    I think I would like a light weight 29er with a rigid fork. One that fits. I bet I am right for a 17.5 to 18 inch frame.

    I guess I would rather my bike be newer than older. My current bike shifts pretty well. The crank feels kind of creaky at times in certain gears when I put some pressure on it pedaling. I will be keeping my seat and my flat pedals.

    What should I do? I was thinking about going down to Owen this Tuesday.

    I do not think I will end up riding anything more than hard packed trails. This is a convenience issue as this park is an 8th of a mile away from my house and will be the only place I ride other than on the road in my neighborhood which features extremely steep hills as we are on a ridge. I am still 225 lbs and am riding for lower body exercise and for fun. I do enjoy my current bike some, but it feels huge. Like I am peddling in front of myself unless I am standing up all of the time. It is still fun, but couldn't it be better?

    I am a 31 year old guy that loves to swim, but it kills my shoulders if I do it too much. After breaking my fibula on rollerblades I have a hard time with running but can still bike for lower body exercise.

  2. #2
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    Airborne Bicycles. Seeker

    Certainly looks nice. I saw it in another thread. It looks far better than a Cannondale trail series bike.

  3. #3
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    Have you done anything to improve the fit of this bike?

    20.5" should be about a size too big for you. Not ideal, but sizing is pretty subjective. Some people your size probably even prefer it. And the fit of a bicycle is highly tunable. You may compromise the handling some, but you've said a couple times you're not mountain biking. So it may not be an issue.

    I'd be surprised if you can't make your current bike fit your body well. It should cost under $50. Maybe $0. Though I often need to buy a stem or something.

    Can you post a picture of the bike?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Have you done anything to improve the fit of this bike?

    20.5" should be about a size too big for you. Not ideal, but sizing is pretty subjective. Some people your size probably even prefer it. And the fit of a bicycle is highly tunable. You may compromise the handling some, but you've said a couple times you're not mountain biking. So it may not be an issue.

    I'd be surprised if you can't make your current bike fit your body well. It should cost under $50. Maybe $0. Though I often need to buy a stem or something.

    Can you post a picture of the bike?
    Well,

    Let's see if bgg comes through for me here.

    darkestoceans | Image | BoardGameGeek

    I want to do what I do better and more comfortably. I think I might enjoy it even more when I am not a flying squirrel over the top of my bike. A size up isn't as fun. I guarantee I don't prefer it.

    I wish for a bike in my size with a fixed front fork or the ability to turn it off when desired. I'm not convinced I should pay for a lot of fork. It seems like a waste of money. My fork failed in the down position on my bike I have, pictured, and it was like a revelation. The instant thought was, there is something here. This could be a lot more fun. It might be worth working on.

    I do not want to keep and upgrade this bike. I don't want a cruiser bike, or to lose the flatbar handlebar. That would not be fun. I like mountain bikes.

    I appreciate the reply.

    I think I want someone to build me a bike that knows what they are doing. Parts etc...

    I feel that in the end this is the way to get what I want. I don't know that I will get a good deal though that way. I guess I could buy a bike and swap the fork out, but I don't want to mess up the feel of the bike that way by putting a part on there that isn't meant to be there.

    I guess I'll keep looking. I might look around some tomorrow.

  5. #5
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    The bike you have has some nice parts on it, The little issues with it could be fixed easily . The problem is it's too big. If you went with a new frame ,you should try and find something that has the same measurements for things like bottom bracket ,seat tube,wheel spacing.A cheaper bike is most likely going disappoint you ,but you should test ride them anyways. You might be interested in another type of bike ,google adventure bike, gravel grinder, or monster cross.. Surly and Salsa are two brand names

  6. #6
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    I think when someone is considering a new bike for reasons of fit, it's worth getting the old one as dialed as possible. I think you can get some good insight that way. And as cheap as stems are compared to complete bikes or frames, it's a smallish cost that I think will help you really nail it on a do-over.

    From the picture, it doesn't look like the bike is set up right. To be fair, the camera angle's not square and I haven't seen you riding it. But when I see the saddle that low relative to the bars, it's hard for me to imagine a person filling in the negative space with a good riding position. How did you set your saddle height? Have you played with the bars at all?

    Like I said, 20.5" isn't the size I'd choose for someone 5'10" as a starting point, although we share the same inseam and I'm 2" shorter than you, so you may belong on that size. Anyway, I'm not trying to talk you out of buying a bike. I'm suggesting a couple things that I think will help you really get it right.

    Talk to your shop about some of the boutique brands. Surly, Salsa, and Niner, off the top of my head, all have catalogs that facilitate doing custom builds on fully rigid platforms. It's expensive, but wtf. Budget what you do for a gaming computer. Probably less, actually. But not $900.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I think when someone is considering a new bike for reasons of fit, it's worth getting the old one as dialed as possible. I think you can get some good insight that way. And as cheap as stems are compared to complete bikes or frames, it's a smallish cost that I think will help you really nail it on a do-over.

    From the picture, it doesn't look like the bike is set up right. To be fair, the camera angle's not square and I haven't seen you riding it. But when I see the saddle that low relative to the bars, it's hard for me to imagine a person filling in the negative space with a good riding position. How did you set your saddle height? Have you played with the bars at all?

    Like I said, 20.5" isn't the size I'd choose for someone 5'10" as a starting point, although we share the same inseam and I'm 2" shorter than you, so you may belong on that size. Anyway, I'm not trying to talk you out of buying a bike. I'm suggesting a couple things that I think will help you really get it right.

    Talk to your shop about some of the boutique brands. Surly, Salsa, and Niner, off the top of my head, all have catalogs that facilitate doing custom builds on fully rigid platforms. It's expensive, but wtf. Budget what you do for a gaming computer. Probably less, actually. But not $900.
    Right before this picture I decided to try to convince my wife that you would not really "break your arm" trying to learn how to ride a bike. She is 34 years old and has never learned. I have rode mountain bikes since I was 5 or 6. I rode a Giant Iguana as a kid. It was bullet proof. I built a jump and got sweet air.

    I actually scratched the top tube of this bike yesterday by throwing it around trying to convince my wife that bikes are fun, easy to learn to ride, and that she should get one. I was trying to show her how to just put your feet down and push off for longer and longer distances. Or ditch it if you need to. I am trying to convince her to buy a basic bike as well and over time I think she could ride with me slowly on what I am currently riding on. Or maybe even one day take the steep trail up that goes to the quarry at greenway farms.

    I know the parts seem solid and I am unlikely to get a whole lot of money out of my current bike. I know I don't know much about bikes. I do know not to put the seat down like that and try to ride ha ha.

    I spent 2800 on my cyber power pc and I have 20k of boardgames. Am I regretting some of that right now? Yeah. I need something else in my life and I need a lower body workout. I like to swim but that is upper body. The biking is real good for my weaker left leg and my weak knees.

    Yeah over time I will weed through the board games but that is a slow process.

    I do not know how much I want to spend. I don't know what I like yet. I don't know if my goal is just to get my wife out there with me or if she would even enjoy it. I have rode my current bike some. This Cannondale was never as good as the Giant Iguana though that bike was a rock it was so heavy. Maybe the Giant Iguana fit me. More than that though I liked that bike. I don't actually like this one as much.

    I have looked at bikes for about a week and a half now. I am getting kind of irritated with it. I guess I don't want an airborne bike. I don't want to pay for that kind of fork I do not think.

    I might buy a used carbon fork on eBay for whatever bike I buy. I feel less irritated with that decision. I like a hard bumpy aggressive ride. I am very bored with where I bike. I am comfortable on a mountain bike or in a kayak but I don't want to go out by myself on lake chickamauga in a kayak for fun. I will never pull it out and load it up and go out there and do that. It would be lonely. Biking doesn't seem so. At least it is lower body exercise, and she goes and walks and I circle back around every now and then.

    Suck creek cycles has social clubs for cycling but I have 100% disliked every single social activity that I have tried outside of just doing things with my wife. It would be about the trail not the people (it is more about the board games than it is about the social aspect though I am here to show her higher and higher quality titles and I enjoy playing them more with her than I would solo) I just would enjoy the more interesting trail. The wife would not enjoy that kind of riding ever probably. I could definitely do that kind of riding right now. Provided the opportunity I could take off on a downhill bike and do fine. I have rode bikes my entire life. The idea sounds kind of fun. I probably will not spend my money and time this way though.

    Salsa El Mariachi Steel Single Speed 29er Mountain Bike Carbon Fork | eBay

    It isn't my size.

    I don't know that I care a lot about performance and weight though. I guess steel is heavy. I do like the salsa frames. I like that color. I do not completely know what I want out of this yet. I can't go jump bikes that is for sure. I cannot afford to break my left leg at this time. I am a RN and I must stay continuously employed.

    I dislike the Cannondale. Overall it is worse than the Giant Iguana which I was able to ride more aggressively. It could take it. This bike feels fussy. Solid components. Ugh. Where is the passion? Take the solid and give me back something fun.

    I don't care to dampen my fun, at the tame park that is convenient, with plush recoil. I don't care to wake up someday, after I have spent over 1k this time, and see that my fork should have been maintained a lot and is now not as good. That is too fussy for me.

  8. #8
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    Keeping my parts and rebuilding with a medium frame sounds interesting. 26 inch wheels are fine.

    Towards another direction a Surly Krampus looks fun. Oh my does it ever look great.

    Drop bars on a mountain bike isn't me.

    Fat bikes look like so much fun. I would rather try one of these out than a regular trail 29er. How can these not be as much fun to ride as they look?Particularly for the rather boring locale I am currently riding. And they can obviously handle more if I wanted to take them there. Forget the fork shock thing they have huge low pressure tires. Brilliant. I am very interested in this type of bike.

  9. #9
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    Those fat tires are undamped.

    Rock Shox Bluto: Ride Impressions

  10. #10
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    You know we are so on the road to buying two from bikes direct eh? Ha ha. Easy sell. "I am worried about falling over." No problem honey, look at these huge fat tired bikes. Now doesn't that look easier?

    Ha ha. I have seen what they can do on youtube videos. No slouch and trust me I spent my money on bgg fueled items. Yup, it is starting to sound like more fun again. I am on a mission to make spare change from my current bike and get to ride a fat tire in the process. Then I will just order the bikesdirect bikes, because name brand or brick and mortar bikes of this nature will be out of our price range.

    They look to be more fun than my old Iguana. Plenty to explore and play with there. Yeah I am still lost as to exactly how much I will spend on bikes direct, or what will end up on there, or why on earth I would want a fork that can fail or that will need maintenance on my bike.

    I will read your article posted.

    I am glad I didn't just go buy a regular giant for 600 or Cannondale with a sun tour on it. It isn't what I want. I want to out do the fun I remember having on the Iguana. I feel that I might be pointed the right direction. Thanks.

    Eh so it's better with a bluto. Well. I don't know.

    What I really want is the assembly and tuning of two bikesdirect bikes. I shall go ask about that and do business with a LBS that is okay with that.

    The preorder Gravity Bullseye Monster is plenty enough bike for a first bike for my wife. And I am fine with a non Bluto option as my money and priorities have heavily been what they have been instead of this. I doubt I am more into this than what I have decided on at this time and I think buying two bikes, so that we can try this out together, with pro assembly and tuning is what I want.

  11. #11
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    Re: Please advise me on what bike to buy

    Really price things out ahead of time. Depending on what you spend, paying someone to assemble and tune a catalog bike can kill your savings. There are some other things I don't like about them, but I also have a line on one of the majors most of the time, so if I'm halfway patient, I don't spend more money on a bike from "my" brand than on something with a similar spec from BD.

    Funny enough, I actually found it fairly difficult to ride a fat bike. It was novel, though. I've also only seen one "in the wild" once. Definitely demo, though. I don't have a dog in this fight, so if you like it and decide to go that way, cool.

    I think you're not really reading me with regard to the Cannondale you already have. I'm not trying to make you keep it. Just leverage it to turn yourself into a more informed consumer for not much more money. I used to buy stems for $5-$10 from a used bike shop. Since moving and also having a couple stems kicking around with my spare parts, I haven't bought one lately, but I often try at least two or three on a new bike when I'm dialing in fit. You'll be surprised how different the same bike can feel with a reasonable-sized stem rather than a boat tiller.

    With regard to tires and damping, they actually have quite a lot. That's the real thing that made pneumatic tires such a revolution about 120 years ago. It's not tunable the same way a suspension fork with valving is, but you just have to ride the same tire at a couple different pressures to get a feel for it. I'd be curious to ride some fat bikes on trails with and without suspension myself.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    On Sale Fat Bikes

    Take a look at the Minnesota 1.0 and 2.0 if you are serious about a fat bike. For the cost, not sure that these can be beat. I bought one slightly used from a friend, and yes, they are as much fun to ride as it looks. Be forewarned, the cheaper it is, the heavier it will be. My 2.0 weighs in at about 35 lbs or so. Fully rigid fork, but the tires give you ample cushioning.
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenSpeed View Post
    On Sale Fat Bikes

    Take a look at the Minnesota 1.0 and 2.0 if you are serious about a fat bike. For the cost, not sure that these can be beat. I bought one slightly used from a friend, and yes, they are as much fun to ride as it looks. Be forewarned, the cheaper it is, the heavier it will be. My 2.0 weighs in at about 35 lbs or so. Fully rigid fork, but the tires give you ample cushioning.
    I hope these fat bikes are as difficult as is stated. Hmm. Minnesota 1.0 and 2.0 are bikes I have heard about. They are the same price as the Boris x7 I am thinking about buying.

    Yes I am about to go out to town to ride one. It won't take much convincing though. I have spent the last 6 hours ogling and obsessing and watching youtube videos of them. They are probably what I was looking for and the polar opposite of it has 6 inches of travel for fast downhills and the components race, which has aggravated me. I don't want to race bikes. I want to ride for exercise. These look like exercise. They look sturdy.

    I cannot afford a surly pugsly or krampus or a pretty name on the side that means years and years of durability. Even if I could I would not pay for it. I am not that into it. I just don't want trash from Wally World or Amazon. I saw the guy's write up on the 500 buck out of stock Gravity bike which is about as much of an off brand as you could get, and it did fine. That is probably enough bike for the both of us, but I will buy maybe 200 dollars higher than that for myself. I like the baby blue X7.

    My price range is a firm 700 to 800 for myself. My wife wants an indigo blue x5. Partially for the color. She will wait until that is in stock.

    Nope. I am vain too. I do not like the look of the Minnesota and will try out bikes direct. I think it is funny the trouble they appear to cause. I half believe in what they are doing. I like the prices.

    Now to find a mechanic that is willing and a good deal. And to find someone that won't begrudge me for wanting to offload the Cannondale and buy something impractical from the internet.

    Thanks for the help. I will go to demo expensive fat bikes I cannot afford if possible. Don't worry, I will be up front with them. And try to be polite. It is hard for me. My wife says please try not to be yourself or dial yourself back a little ha ha. Yep, a fat bike will suit me, and no I am not that serious about them.

  14. #14
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    Minnesota 1.0 from the house versus x5 or x7 from bikes direct. Can anyone compare them? I should go make a thread and ask them to compare them under the fat bike forum. Or just go see if there is a post or two here or there as to which would be better.

    Minnesota is slightly higher quality huh? She actually likes the red Minnesota fine. I don't really care. I want a fat bike for less than 800 bucks and would much rather pay 700.

    Only x7 versus Minnesota 1.0

    Too bad the 17 is all they have in the 1.0

    She might end up with a x7 or a 2.0

    I might end up with the 1.0

    I am leaning that way. It looks more trustworthy somehow than the x7 to me.

  15. #15
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    I went down to Owen Cyclery. In the beginning when I looked at bikes and ruled out a lot of the Cannondale bikes by using this site and picking through the parts that they give you on them, I looked at a Salsa El Mariachi.

    Someone on here recommended me Salsa as well in the beginning. Salsa or Surly.

    Well I took a test ride on a cheaper steel single speed 29er. I do not remember the brand. Monocog. Which for the record was far more to my liking than the Cannondale F1000 sl pictured earlier. Then they let me try out the El Mariachi that I had looked at on the internet.

    Baby blue.

    Oh man it was smooth. It has gears. It has a Rock Shox gold tk fork on the front, but it has a lockout. I liked it both ways. I liked having gears. It felt so nice to ride. My wife was looking at bikes and they let us take up about 3 hours of their time and basically let my wife coast with their stock after telling them that she had never been on a bike. They put her on a trike. They put her on a bike next. She did fine.

    I bought a Salsa El Mariachi 3. I will post pictures later. Is it 10 posts for pictures? I love the bike. It is what I wanted. I will maintain it. They said I might get 250 or 300 for the Cannondale maybe, and there may not be much wrong with the fork. They do not want to buy it though. I will shop it around. They think I should put it on Craigslist local. I will discuss this with my wife and maybe just meet at a public location with her in tow.

    Anyway can you imagine having to deal with me for 3 hours? It isn't fun. I wanted to get something out of it though. The guys were super nice. I am very happy. I hope to put thousands of miles on the bike and hope that it will be my only bike for a very long time. I like it stock. I know where to go to buy replacement forks if necessary. They said no fox forks. Only buy rock shox. Okay.

    I know where to go for maintenance. The search is over. You all were very helpful. And in the end, though the idea of a bike I did not have to worry about and could be crazy on (the internet sourced fat bike) was alluring, I went with something that seemed solid. It was so easy to love it. 2015 baby blue 17 inch El Mariachi $1535.

    Raleigh Venture 3.0 15 inch in grape soda $435 for her.

    I think I like the sociable route after all. After all I did not know I wanted an El Mariachi and when I got on it I did not want to get off. We hit the park tomorrow. She's got learning to do. And so do I.

    Thanks again.

    PS: pics tomorrow if you want them. I see they have to be outdoors.

    Update.

    My wife learned to ride in 2 weeks. That Raleigh Venture 3.0 made me scoff more on the first few rides than it does now that I have been riding more. Something about that low slung girls frame is interesting. It climbs so easy with the riser bar. I don't know. I have told my wife look. You lose the fork they got on there for something better maybe that raidon. You replace the crank and gearing someday. And you have a pretty sweet bike. I actually probably would do that. She will like the low slung frame long term. The dark purple color is really cool. And there is a bike there. Just tilt that seat slight up or flat. Replace those pedals. Yeah. I would keep that thing. Riding it made me reconsider giving up the Cannondale. I finally saw a lot more potential in the Cannondale to be something more likeable, usable, and maybe a slightly better fit. Just have to think outside the box a little and in the end it is not going to be quite as respectable of a package.

    I rode the Mariachi on the up and down quarry trail at enough of a speed to feel like medium to me rather than easy and there are steep uphill dirt trails in the woods that look like I could upgrade my rating of the trail to a bit more than medium. The Mariachi performed fine.

    I know how to degrease and grease the bikes and clean them and have the right equipment to do so minus a bike stand.

    I am very happy with the Mariachi. I decided to keep the Cannondale and use it for a beater bike. The Cannondale is too big and my Mariachi is slightly small though that was on purpose as I greatly enjoy the quasi bmx feel of it particularly standing tall and tearing down the downhills.

    On the Cannondale, I am planning to get the fork serviced and fixed, lose the flat bar and maybe the stem for a riser bar, and ride it like a cruiser just for something different. One large stubby feeling bike and a smaller tall bike. Different feels. The Cannondale needs a tune up too.

    -----update-----

    And then it just got crazy.

    I found singletracks.com

    I found a place called enterprise south at a VW plant here. I loved it. On the mon, wed, fri direction.

    I googled dirt jumps Chattanooga for 3 hours and found nothing. I got the itch to learn drops and jumps better. I found a place behind where I went to college that I never knew about called white oak mountain aka the biology trails. There they have cottontail, a dirt jump track and I learned drops there last week. The jumps are fun and I am jumping the mariachi twice per week on Tuesday and Thursday there. It feels so nice. Monday I still ride greenway quarry trail from the post at the beginning, around the restrooms, and back to the post and last time I shaved a minute off of my time to get to 13:49. Wednesday is VW. I plan to do Black Forest plus TNT timed, and then a full loop including log rhythm afterwards this Wednesday, which is my 32nd birthday. I went to a place called stringers ridge and it seemed dangerous and not much fun. I pedal for grip now. I am having a blast and I love my bike.

    It is clicking in the pedals or crank though, my back wheel needs truing, and I wonder if my chain is loose. Love the thing. Will fix it always. I wonder if I would like full suspension next? I don't know or care. I hope this one lasts for years and years. It is so much fun to jump. If full suspension made my jumps less fun or smoothed out the landings too much then I would not like that. The whole fun is to know when you land nice. I did 11 runs at mini upper Cottontail the day I first rode it and 2 full runs minus the 8 foot down ramp thing which I do not know how to ride safely.

    I ride 4 days per week. My wife is almost to the point of learning standing while pedaling and can change gears and ride for a mile on gravel without stopping. She is eyeing a Juliana Origin for someday in the future.

    I am back to donating the Cannondale. It is truly garbage to me. I built a clown bike using the $112 diamondback venom on amazon which features only one set of rear brakes. I then ordered 2 more pegs so there will be 4 pegs, an aftermarket seat post and large beach cruiser high rise handlebars. Then I just mounted the brake as high as possible. It is funny. I ride it on the pavement to be goofy. I am investigating getting a squeeze horn for it to safely announce my arrival for certain locations but I am afraid it would drive dogs absolutely bonkers and get me in trouble. So. No go on that probably.
    Last edited by battlelinefan; 10-28-2014 at 01:56 AM.

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